Alexander Calder was an abstract sculptor regarded as the inventor of “mobiles”, his signature monumental works consisting of delicate cascades of wire and metal, wood or glass. Normally suspended from the ceiling, these artworks float gently in response to air movements. A sophisticated but natural sense of freedom, playfulness, and even joy pulses through these works and so many others that Calder created throughout his long career.
"[He] took his place among the generations of modern artists, beginning with Rodin, Cézanne, Brancusi, and Picasso, who reconsidered what it meant to create life. No longer were the figures in a painting or a sculpture what really mattered. Now what mattered was the life of the work of art itself."
In addition to mobiles, Calder produced an array of public constructions worldwide as well as drawings and paintings that feature the same vein of abstraction. The artist used to refer to his three-dimensional works as “objects,” not as “sculptures.”
As Perl observes in his exhaustive two-volume biography of the artist,
“[Calder] defied many if not all of the conventions of sculpture. By making sculpture move, he indeed conquered time. Reaching beyond the earlier experiments of the Cubists or the Futurists, he brought a sensation of real time unfolding into art, forever transforming sculpture’s expressive power.”